Free range chicken farming is a very lucrative business, and many individuals are generating income all over the world by raising free-range chickens.
Nevertheless, to build an effective, sustainable, free-range poultry farming business, you need an adequate understanding of how to effectively raise organic free range chickens, great management abilities, and an excellent poultry farming business plan. This post will lay out how to start a free-range poultry farming business and a free-range poultry farming business plan.
Free-range chicken and backyard poultry production is a profitable business. However, there are some essential things you have to do before you venture into the business enterprise. You have to decide on the size of your project, i.e., the number of birds you want to keep per cycle, the company’s location, e.g., a poultry farm, and your target market.
These options will be impacted by the total amount of funds that you have, along with the dimensions of your target industry. If you do not have many funds, you can always start small and expand your business.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You also need to perform a market study (Who are you going to sell the birds to? At what cost?) And write a business plan before you venture into the poultry business.
Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, regards the Chicken business as a good, profitable business. He is donating thousands of chickens to empower people to earn an income by starting chicken farming businesses.
In his article on his website, “Why I would raise Chickens,” Bill Gates says Chickens are a good investment that can generate a lot of income for the people as they have a multiplicative effect, since they lay and hatch eggs frequently, thus multiplying the size of your flock.
What you need
LAND, HOUSING, AND EQUIPMENT FOR FREE RANGE CHICKEN
The kind of housing you need and the size of this property will depend on your poultry endeavor size. When choosing your poultry business location, you need to balance the need for closeness to the market, together with the expense of property, labor expenses, safety, and a fantastic water source.
When you plan to construct a free-range chicken house, you have to pick a well-drained location with lots of pure air movement. The right housing should have proper ventilation and the right lighting. Ventilation is necessary so that sufficient air exchange can happen.
If you want to make eggs year-round, you will need to install adequate lighting in your own facility. You ought to have the equipment, including feeders, drinkers, lighting systems, and nest boxes.
Free-range chickens need adequate space for them to develop nicely. They should not be bloated. Otherwise, they might suffocate to death, and that will lead to a significant loss in your business.
Every free-range poultry requires approximately 0.1 square meters of floor area, which translates to 10 birds per square meter. Hence the size of the free-range poultry home will depend on the number of critters to be reared.
Your housing may be barns, chicken conducts, or hutches and the building’s cost will be dependent on the materials used and how big the free-range poultry home. Free-range chickens also need pasture for them to forage.
The significant difference between broiler chickens and free-range chickens is that broilers are raised inside, confined to the broiler house. In contrast, free-range chickens will invest most of the day outdoors, foraging the pastures and plants.
DAY OLD CHICKS
It would be best if you started your free-range chicken poultry farming business. After getting experience, you may then hatch your own chicks, which will greatly reduce your expenses as you will no longer need to buy day-old chicks. You should purchase your day-old chicks from a reliable accredited hatchery or company where the parent stocks are well managed.
If you are new to the free-range poultry business, you should enquire from other farmers to hear where they buy their chicks from. Your free-range poultry business’s success will partly depend on the quality of day-old chicks you buy.
There are many different breeds of chicken, and the right breed to choose will depend on your needs. You can do a free-range chicken business for selling meat, for selling eggs, or for both meat and eggs.
The Rhode Island Red chicken breed can be raised for both meat and eggs. They produce about 250 eggs per year. The Light Sussex chicken breed is also a dual-purpose breed for both meat and egg production.
White Leghorns breed chickens are usually used as layer birds. They can lay up to 300 eggs a year, each egg weighing a minimum of 55 grams. The Boschveld chicken breed is usually found in Africa, and it can withstand varying climatic conditions.
It’s also a dual-purpose breed, which can be raised for both meat and egg production. There are many other breeds, including Golden Comet, Barred Plymouth Rock, Golden Laced Wyandottes, Australorp e.t.c.
FEED AND NUTRITION
Feeding is important to increase the production of meat and eggs from free-range chickens and backyard chickens. Lack of feed or water will reduce resistance to diseases and parasites and subsequently increase flock mortality. In a free-range poultry rearing system, adult hens and cocks should be given enough time and space for scavenging in the surroundings daily.
The best time for scavenging is early morning and late afternoon when there are plenty of insects and less heat. Supplementary feeds should be offered in the morning and evening when the free-range chickens come back for the night.
Clean water should be provided in shady areas during the day to avoid heat stress. You will also need proper vaccines and medications to prevent diseases and promote your free-range and backyard chickens’ growth.
The advantage of rearing free-range chickens is that they will get most of their food from scavenging the surroundings. Thus the feed costs are minimized. However, if you keep free-range chickens for commercial purposes, food from foraging the surroundings is not enough.
You will need to supplement their diet with commercial stock feeds or your own homemade feed. You can also give them maize, sorghum, wheat, rice e.t.c.
MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR
The number of farm workers you need will depend on the size of your free-range and backyard chicken project. If you are running a small business, e.g., 100 birds/cycle, you and your family may be enough to take care of the chickens.
However, if you are rearing 2000 birds per cycle, you will need full-time employees to manage the free-range chickens. There is a need for good technical knowledge of free range chickens rearing techniques for business success. You also need good management skills.
CAPITAL FOR FREE RANGE CHICKEN FARMING
The amount of capital required for a free-range poultry farming business depends on the scale of the project. Sources of capital include bank loans and equity investors. Don’t have access to capital? Start small, and grow your business over time! Free-range chickens are very profitable, so if you reinvest the profits you get, you can quickly grow.
MARKET FOR FREE RANGE CHICKENS MEAT AND EGGS
The free-range chickens market is high and increasing as more people are moving towards organic and healthier food. Many people prefer organic free-range chicken meat, as compared to broiler chicken meat. This is because free-range chickens are highly nutritious, delicious, organic, and healthier.
Thus, the demand for free-range organic chicken meat continues to rise. Free-range chickens have a higher price than broiler chickens, as they are considered to be superior.
The eggs from free-range chickens are also considered superior compared to the eggs from commercial indoor layer chickens. Free-range chicken eggs are considered to be highly nutritious, delicious, organic, and healthier. Thus, the price of free-range organic eggs is higher compared the usual poultry eggs.
You can supply your free-range chicken meat and eggs to individual households, butchers, schools, restaurants, companies, supermarkets, organizations, events, abattoirs, etc.
You can sell your free-range chicken as live birds, or you can slaughter and freeze them and sell them as dressed chicken. As you grow your business, you will also be able to export your free-range organic products.
Pamora: An Inspirational Free Range Chicken Farming Business Success Story in the Philippines
“Pamora Farm began to raise free-range chicken in the year 2000, in simply 1,000 square meters of land,” states General Manager Tina Morados. “Initially, the goal was for our households to have our own source of naturally grown chicken.
Then other family members and their good friends discovered what we were doing and began buying. This consumer base grew to good friends of friends, including foreign citizens in Manila who had actually tasted the free-range chicken.”
19 years later on, the Abra-based free-range chicken business company has actually grown tremendously to provide a few of Metro Manila’s leading hotels. The high standards of growing free-range chickens are the main reason for its success, combined with free-range farming’s philosophical approach.
In the Philippines, the required natural organic poultry standards are just a minimum of 70 days for chickens to grow.
However, Pamora follows the French Label Rouge standards and grows their premium chicken (1 to 1.850 kg) for a minimum of 81 days, in some cases as much as 100 days, without injecting hormonal agents and chemicals to speed up the growing process of free-range chickens.
“We enable the body of the chicken to develop naturally, so when you consume free-range chicken, you’ll discover that the bones are strong and do not quickly break,” discusses Morados.
The birds are grown with feed consumption created specifically for free-range chickens. To enhance their body immune system, they utilize natural and organic mixtures and concoctions made from ginger, chili, lemongrass, oregano, and kakawate that they grew on their farm in Barangay Garreta, Pidigan, Abra.”
These avoid them from getting ill, therefore getting rid of the need for artificial veterinary medications that is costly as the chickens are healthier with these concoctions,” she states.
“We grow the chickens the way a chicken typically should, scratching the ground to discover food to gain access to natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients readily available in the yard, bugs, insects, and the soil.
They are left roaming outdoors– they run, they play, they workout making them happy chickens all the time” explains Tina Morados.
Pamora chickens are brooded from the first day to 21 days, depending upon the weather condition or season, in some cases a week longer or a week much shorter. Later on, the chickens are released and permitted to follow their instincts and needs.
“We grow the chickens the way a chicken usually should, scratching the ground to discover food to gain access to natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients readily available in the grass, bugs, and the soil.
They are left roaming outdoors– they run, they play, they work out,” explains Morados. She added that this leads to firm chicken meat and consists of only 8 to 10 percent fat content than 19 to 29 percent in commercial chicken that is very unhealthy.
As a leader in the free-range poultry market, Pamora has actually invested in production process standardization that abides by both local and global required standards.
The farm is the only National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) certified “AA” poultry dressing plant in the Cordilleras and the only dressing plant in the Philippines that caters specifically to free-range chickens, utilizing an air-dry chilling process that is certified with EU required standards on poultry dressing facilities.
“We picked air-dry cooling since we do not want to utilize the water cooling procedure where the chickens are taken in iced water with chlorine for 2 to 3 hours. Air-dry cooling keeps the freshness, meat quality, and high-quality taste of the chicken, and the chicken absorbs no water. Which means, what we get is 100 percent chicken meat,” highlights Morados.
The dressing plant is also with the state of the art blast freezing devices and a freezer. Pamora’s whole dressed chickens are vacuum-packed, while choice cuts are Individually Quick-Frozen (IQF). “This method, you do not require to thaw the entire pack if you simply require a couple of pieces of the chicken parts.”
“Chicken farming is not simply a business for us, it’s our enthusiasm and passion. We eat what we produce. So we make certain that our chickens are produced for quality before quantity. No hormonal agents, no prescription antibiotics, no chemicals,” mentions Morados .
Tina Morado was granted Knight in Order with Merits in Agriculture (Chevalier du l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole) by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Le Ministre de L’Agriculture et de La Peche) in 2008.
This distinguished award was developed in 1883, which ranked next to the Legion of Honour within the French order of precedence. It is usually given to those with exceptional and outstanding contributions to farming and agriculture.